Marina Bay is Singapore's newest district, created on reclaimed land just south of Riverside.
The label "Marina Bay" is a little fuzzy. Technically, it's the body of water created by reclaiming land around the mouth of the Singapore River and blocked off from the sea by the Marina Barrage, but Singaporeans used to associate the name "Marina" with the Marina Square shopping mall and the many hotel developments around it on the north shore of the river. The half to the south of the river, or Marina South, was mostly unused reclaimed land until the government targeted it as Singapore's new downtown hub, turning it into the core of Singapore's urban transformation efforts. Now its centrepiece, the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, dominates the city skyline while sharing the spotlight with the super trees of Gardens by the Bay. With many more upcoming developments planned, Marina Bay is now truly the focal point in any visitor's itinerary: mixing business, shopping, entertainment and culture in one accessible district.
The northern half is best accessed through the Circle MRT Line, with stations at Esplanade (for Suntec City) and Promenade (for Suntec City and Millenia Walk, also on the Downtown Line). Alternatively, you can walk for approximately 15 minutes through the underground (and air-conditioned) CityLink shopping mall from Raffles City (located at the City Hall MRT station where the North-South and East-West lines intersect).
If you wish to head to Merlion Park, a less-touristed option would be to walk through an air-conditioned linkway within the Fullerton Hotel complex (located near Raffles Place) towards the Bay.
The southern half, i.e. Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, is best accessed through the Downtown MRT Line, with stations at Bayfront (for Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay), and Downtown for Lau Pa Sat and the Financial District.
From the airport, Marina Bay Sands Hotel guests can use a shuttle bus for $ 9.
The Marina Bay Cruise Centre is a direct gateway into the heart of Singapore, serving as the docking point for some of the world's largest cruise ships. To get to/fro the Cruise Center, you can use the North-South Line at the Marina South Pier station.
Singapore skyline viewed from Gardens by the Bay East
Bumboat sailing past the Esplanade Theatres and the hotels of the Marina District
Marina Bay Sands hosts a slew of attractions.
- Marina Bay Sands Casino, (Bayfront MRT), . 24 hours. Singapore's second casino, larger and glitzier than its family-oriented competitor on Sentosa, with 600 gaming tables and 1500 slot machines. Visitors can enter for free, but locals and residents have to pay $100 just to get in. An age limit of 21 applies, and you'll need to bring ID. edit
- Sands SkyPark, Marina Bay Sands (Tickets from hotel lobby, Tower 3), . 10 AM-10 PM. Singapore's single most dramatic landmark, the SkyPark defies gravity, perched 55 stories above the ground like a surfboard on top of the three hotel towers. Views aside, for time being there's not much bang for your buck though: the pool is open to guests only. The alternative to paying the entry fee is to visit the restaurants (see Eat) for lunch, which will set you back around $50, but you can freely explore the SkyPark afterwards. $23/17 adults/children. edit
Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay during the night
Gardens by the Bay during the day
- Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive (City Hall MRT), ☎ +65-68288377, . Singapore's equivalent of Sydney's famous Opera House, except that the two-lobed spiky Singaporean version deliberately bears a striking resemblance to the durian, a tropical fruit related to the jackfruit which is notorious for its sharp odour. Opera, dance, classical concerts and similar entertainment is offered daily. Prices for the main entertainment start from $20-30 for poor seats, up to over a $100 for good ones. For the traveller on a budget, there are usually free productions on the outdoor riverside stage on weekends. edit
- Gardens by the Bay, (Bayfront MRT), . 5:00 AM-2:00 AM for outdoor gardens. 9:00 AM-9:00 PM for cooled conservatories and skyway. Gardens by the bay is a futuristic park which consists of three waterfront gardens. Includes giant artificial trees that glow in the night time and two domed conservatories. The Garden Rhapsody light show is free and takes place twice nightly. $28/15 adult/child for two conservatories. $5 for skyway. Gardens are free. edit
- Singapore Flyer, 30 Raffles Avenue (Promenade MRT), ☎ +65-63333311, . 8:30 AM-10:30 PM. Singapore's newest tourist trap, this 150-meter-tall observation wheel modeled on the London Eye is no less than the world's tallest. One rotation takes about 30 minutes, and for an extra $25 you can sip on a cocktail while admiring the views, but expect to share your capsule with as many as 28 people unless you stump up a cool $1,000 for a private ride. Discounts are widely available, grab a brochure from any tourist information counter. $29.50/20.65 adult/child. edit
- Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix (Formula 1 Singapore Night-time Grand Prix), Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore., . The Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race, currently on the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The first race held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit was the 15th round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. It was also the first, and thus far only, night-time event in Formula One history. Night races are held in September, in conjunction with a comprehensive entertainment schedule. Officially known as the Grand Prix Season Singapore, the lead-up to the final race will include parties, race-themed events, music concerts, exhibitions and dining & shopping experiences. edit
- ArtScience Museum, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956 (Bayfront MRT), . 10am - 10pm daily. ArtScience Museum is part of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort and is the world's first ArtScience museum as well as the largest private museum in Singapore. It hosts mainly international travelling exhibitions. The current permanent exhibition, Future World, is billed as "Where Art Meets Science", invites visitors to enter a futuristic world of high-tech interactive artworks and immerse themselves in a world of art, science, magic and metaphor through a collection of cutting-edge digital installations. $15-$28 adult, $14-$27 senior citizen, $9-$16 child. edit
- Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd (Promenade MRT), ☎ +65-68831122, . Upscale mall known for housing Singapore's best collection of luxury watch retailers. edit
- Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard (Esplanade & Promenade MRT), ☎ +65-68252667, . Daily 10 AM-10 PM. At the northeastern edge of the CBD is Singapore's 2nd largest shopping mall, featuring the Fountain of Wealth, reputedly the world's largest fountain. If connecting to the Circle Line is inconvenient, the other way in is to take the MRT to City Hall and then follow the signs in the underground CityLink mall, a 15-min air-conditioned walk. There are variety of new shops like Uniqlo, H&M, Golden Village, Cold Storage, Digital Style, Polliwogs, Factorie, Cotton On, bYSI, J. Lindeberg and Alive Museum. edit
- The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, (Bayfront MRT), . The Sands' shopping mall, chock full of expensive brands geared at stripping jackpot winners of their earnings, plus a dinky little canal where you can go for a spin in a sampan boat at $8/person. Featured 350 shops in the heart of expensive area. edit
- Gluttons Bay, Esplanade Mall #01-15, ☎ +65-63367025. Daily 6 PM-3 AM. Run by famous foodies Makansutra, this outdoor eatery puts together 12 of Singapore's most famous hawkers. Breezy location by the river, great views of the city and pretty good grub make this a winner. The food here is a tourist-friendly reproduction of some of Singapore's best, though you can usually find better (and usually cheaper) versions in the heartlands. $5-30. edit
- Gajalee, #01-13C, Colours By The Bay, 8 Raffles Avenue (Esplanade MRT). Singapore branch of a Mumbai restaurant. Flavors are a bit different than the typical North Indian fare. Get the green chilly crab and the bombay duck (bombil fish). $30-60. edit
Marina Bay Sands is bringing in a constellation of big names, with Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Santi Santamaria, Guy Savoy and Tetsuya Wakuda all opening restaurants in the complex.
- Ku De Ta Skybar, Marina Bay Sands SkyPark (Bayfront MRT), ☎ +65-66887688, . noon-3 PM, 6 PM-2 AM. A branch of the famous bar/restaurant in Bali, although there are already lawsuits flying over the name. The restaurant's tapas-style food is by most accounts overpriced for what you get, but it's still probably a better deal than forking out $50 for entry to the bar (one drink included). Lunch $30-85, dinner $100-200. edit
- Sky @ 57, Marina Bay Sands SkyPark (Bayfront MRT), ☎ +65-66888857, . 7-10 AM, noon-2:30 PM, 6-10:30 PM. Modern Asian food by celebrity chef Justin Quek and some of the best views in town. The three-course $50 lunch (four courses for $60) is probably the best-value way of checking out the views from here. Note that although there is an outdoor dining area, access to the public SkyPark is not included - you will need to buy a separate ticket. Lunch $50, dinner $80+ (minimum charge). edit
There are a few interesting places around Marina Square as well.
- Shiraishi, 7 Raffles Ave #03-01 (Promenade MRT), ☎ +65-63383788. noon-2 PM, 6-10 PM. A tiny place in a quiet corner of the hotel, you won't stumble into this intimidatingly Japanese place by accident, but the restaurant's many regulars come here for some of the best and most consistent sushi and sashimi this side of Tokyo. Lunch sets are good value, but ordering à la carte for dinner can be very expensive indeed. For connoisseurs. Lunch $30-85, dinner $100-200. edit
Nightlife option in Marina Bay are still developing but more and more options are popping up.
- Pangaea, ☎ +65 6688-7448, . Opend in 2010, this is the first megaclub at Marina Bay Sands. edit
- Conrad Centennial, 2 Temasek Blvd (Promenade MRT), ☎ +65-63348888, . New and impeccably tasteful hotel, located next Suntec City but a bit far from the MRT. Very good value for a 5-star. $290. edit
- Marina Bay Sands, (Bayfront MRT), ☎ +65-66888868, . The three "card decks" of the Marina Bay Sands house nearly 2,500 rooms offering some of the best views in the city. Launched in April 2010, the hotel sits atop Singapore's largest casino. Home to the famous 'skypark' featuring a rooftop infinity pool with panoramic views of Singapore's Central Business District. All rooms are large, modern, and well equipped. From $300. edit
- Ritz-Carlton Millenia, 7 Raffles Ave (Promenade MRT), ☎ +65-63378888, . Modern and impeccably stylish, with fantastic full-wall skyline views, even from the bathroom, for rooms on the Marina Bay side. (Don't worry, it's one-way glass.) All rooms are large and equipped with frills like a pillow in the bathtub. Gym, spa, pool and a popular Sunday champagne brunch. Recommended. $400. edit
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